Bob Huelsman
Bob Huelsman

Bob Huelsman is a former high school teacher, coach and administrator, serving for more than three decades at Covington High School, in Miami County. In his 13 years as head basketball coach at Covington, Huelsman won 228 games and five times guided the Buccaneers to the regional round of the state tournament. Currently, he serves as the associate athletic director at Newton High School, and treasurer for the Southwest District Athletic Board. A former member of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Control, Huelsman’s broad background in athletic administration has won the respect of his peers statewide.


Contrary to what’s been written, or what you might think, not every athletic director is compensated in the manner written about recently…nor is every athletic director’s responsibilities the same.  

I laughed out loud a couple weeks ago at the comments made to Press Pros Magazine after the article on area athletic director compensation that appeared in the Dayton Daily News.

I didn’t laugh at the compensation of large school athletic directors, but the comments made by people who truly don’t have a clue as to what the job description of an athletic director entails.

The impression that all athletic directors are compensated similarly is totally false. There are big school athletic directors and small school athletic directors.  The athletic directors at large schools are more of a “finger pointing” position, whereas the small school athletic director is half “do it yourself” and half “maintenance man”.

“Big school” athletic directors have an enormous job with usually an assistant and site managers to help.  They have 20 sports to worry about.  They schedule, hire coaches and assistant coaches, make sure they get BCI checks and fingerprinting, evaluate them, supervise the contests… the list could go on forever.

It reminds me of the time the school board asked me to supply a job description and duties for this position.  Honestly, after four pages, I stopped.  The list could have easily gone on for another four.

Take one little snippet of the job—eligibility.  Every student-athlete has to be checked closely to make sure they are eligible to compete.  Don’t make an error!  Heaven forbid if you found out too late someone was ineligible and was playing.

Can you imagine if your football team was about to qualify for the football playoffs and you had to forfeit a game or two? You might as well start looking for another job!

Now, the “small school” athletic director has all the same responsibilities as the “large school” athletic director. The difference is that they usually teach 4 to 5 classes, have less people to help them, coach a sport or two, and in many cases are the maintenance man to boot.

The “small school” A.D. can be seen dragging the diamonds, striping the ball fields, dragging the sprinkler hose around, mowing grass, and pulling weeds.

The “kicker” is the “small school” A.D. is paid a whopping stipend of $4,000 to $7,000 per school year– not $60,000 or $100,000 like the “large school” A.D.

All athletic directors now need to be accountants, purchasing agents, administrators, investigators, evaluators, fundraisers, general contractors, scheduler-games, officials, workers, buses, police, trainers- computer experts, program designers, player-parent consultants, handle training rule violations, parking, and again the list could go on.

Oh yeah!  They better have a very understanding wife!

For those of you out there that think the A.D.’s job is to watch the games, deposit the money, and turn out the lights, you have absolutely no clue.  The job is made up of two shifts (1st & 2nd), and you do both shifts six days a week.

When people show up for the game, teams better be there, buses running on time, officials in place, timers and scorebook people at the table, ticket takers at their station, floor swept or field lined, and concessions popping corn…or look out for the irate fan!

There is no doubt that the athletic director’s position is the toughest position in the school– day in and day out. The biggest ovation I ever received as an A.D. came when some kid got sick and puked on the floor at a basketball game, and guess who had to clean it up?

Don’t make me laugh!